How to sew curtains – simple valance

Do you think it is difficult to sew a made-to-measure valance for your window which will cost you just a fraction of the amount you would pay to a professional decorator?

Let me show you how to make a beautiful, simple and easy to sew valance that will change the face of your window.

How to make a simple valance

For this project I used:

  • Fabric
  • Grosgrain ribbon 1” wide
  • 2 tassels
  • Matching thread


  • Sewing machine
  • Iron
  • Scissors
  • Measuring tape
  • Dressmaker pins
  • Fabric marking pen

Cutting the fabric

Before you start you need to determine the desired finished length of the valance at the longest point. You also need to measure the length of the rod you will be using for this valance.

My rod, for instance, is 60” long and I decided on a 58” wide x 24” long valance.

Ok: Cut two pieces of fabric (one from the main fabric and one from the lining or both pieces from the main fabric as I did) measuring 59” x 25” (size of the curtain plus ½” to each side of the curtain for seam allowance).

My fabric is 59” wide so one width is enough to cut the front panel of the valance. If the width of your fabric is not wide enough for the desired size of your valance, cut two widths from the same fabric and then stitch them together to create the needed width.

Now you need to create the bottom curve of your valance.

  • Fold one piece across in half, so the size of the folded piece is 29 ½” x 25”.


  • To locate centre of top curve measure 14 ½” in from the folded line on horizontal edge of the folded piece (29 ½” x 25”) and put a mark (length of the folded piece 29 ½” less ½” seam allowance divide by 2 = 14 ½”)

Valance2 copy

  • Draw a 5” long line parallel to the folded line.
  • Now, draw two lines connecting the end of the 5” long line with edges of the folded piece.


  • Now you can cut the bottom edge of the curtain following the connecting lines you have just drawn. If you want your valance to be a little more round in the centre, just smooth the line slightly near the folded line.

Valance4 copy

  • Open the folded piece of fabric and use it as a pattern to cut the second piece of fabric.


Attaching tassels to bottom corners of curtain

  • Lay one piece of your fabric right side up.
  • Measure ½” in from side of one corner and ½” in from bottom of the corner and put a mark. Do the same with the second bottom corner.
  • Hand baste loop of a tassel to the marked point at the right bottom corner of the valance, so the tassel points toward the top of the valance.
  • Do the same with the second tassel but this time to the left bottom corner.


Making loops for curtain rod

  • Before you start working with grosgrain ribbon preshrink it with a steamed iron.
  • The ribbon I am making loops from is 1” wide and I want to put 14 loops.
  • Lay a panel of your valance right side up.
  • Starting from the left or right top corner of the valance I put marks where the centre of ribbon loops will be attached in the following order: The first mark is 1” away from the side of the valance (½” – for seam allowance and ½” to the centre of 1” wide ribbon).
  • From this first mark measure 4 3/8” distance and put the next mark.
  • Repeat it 12 times.

Your last mark should be 1 1/8” away from the other side of the valance.

1”+4 3/8”+4 3/8”+ 4 3/8”+ 4 3/8” + 4 3/8” + 4 3/8” + 4 3/8” + 4 3/8” + 4 3/8” + 4 3/8” + 4 3/8” + 4 3/8” + 4 3/8” + 1 1/8” = 59”.

There is 1/8” difference in distances between one side of the valance and the first mark and the last mark and the other side of the valance, but the difference is too small to be noticed.


Now I need to cut 14 pieces from my ribbon.

To cut the right length of the ribbon, I measured the perimeter of the curtain rod and added 2” (1” – for seam allowance and 1” for easy movement of loops on the curtain rod).

My curtain rod is 4” in perimeter, so I need to cut 14 pieces each 6” long.

Fold the cut pieces of ribbon in half and pin or hand baste them to the marked points on the valance, lining the cut edge of the ribbon with raw edge of your valance. Make sure the centre of the ribbon is exactly on a mark.

Making valance

  • Lay the second piece of your fabric on the top of the first one with right sides facing each other so the valance loops are sandwiched between the valance panels.
  • Pin or hand baste them together.



  • Machine stitch the two panels along the perimeter of the valance ½” in from the edge of the fabric leaving 7” opening gap on one of the vertical sides of the valance (you will use this gap to turn the valance right side out).
  • Backstitch at the beginning and the end of the stitch. When stitching make sure you are catching the loops of the tassels in the stitch.
  • Trim seam allowance at lower curve and clip at upper curve.


  • Trim corners of valance to get rid of excess fabric but make sure you do not cut loops of tassels.


  • Press back panel seam allowance (or lining seam allowance) toward back panel/lining.


  • Turn valance right side out, press along seamed edges.
  • Press in seam allowance at 7” opening gap.


Attaching ribbon 

  • Pin ribbon to face side of the valance starting from one lower corner and going up toward the top edge of the valance.
  • At the top corner turn 90 degree and continue toward the other vertical side of the valance and turning 90 degree toward the lower edge of the valance.
  • Mark corners for miters with your pins.


  • Unpin the ribbon at the top corners.
  • Stitch mitred corners from the wrong side of the ribbon (the side that faces the fabric).
  • Press.


  • Re-pin the ribbon to the top corners.
  • Edge stitch outer edge of the ribbon to sides and top edge of the valance.
  • Edge stitch around the inner side of the ribbon.


  • Press the seams.
  • Hang up the valance.

Easy valance ideas

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